Find out how to improve seed germination rates, save time and make sowing easier, giving your seedlings the very best chance for success!
1. Home-made Seed Tapes
For this you’ll need a roll of toilet paper, a paste made from equal parts flour and water, and your seeds.
Roll out a strip of toilet paper as long as your row (or use squares of paper towel if planting in blocks). Place daubs of paste at the correct spacing on the paper. Pop two seeds onto each daub of paste, then fold the toilet paper in half lengthways. Once dry, label the seed tapes, roll them up and store until it’s time to sow. Just roll out the tape into the seed drill to sow, then cover with soil.
2. Tiny Seeds
Make tiny seeds less fiddly to sow by mixing a pinch of seeds with two teaspoons of fine, dry sand. Sprinkle the mix along your seed drill, then fill in the seed drill.
3. Big Seeds
Speed up germination of large seeds or seeds with a tough seed coat by gently rolling them between two sheets of sandpaper until the seed coat just starts to rub off.
Or, soak your seeds in a bowl of lukewarm water for 24 hours.
4. Make Seeds Easier to Identify
Line your seed drill with toilet paper to make it easier to see small, dark seeds so you can space them evenly.
Backfill your seed drill with potting soil so that the row stands out from the surrounding soil, showing exactly where seedlings should be.
Alternatively, mix quick-growing seeds such as radishes with slow growers like parsnips. The radishes will pop up quickly to show the location of the row, and will be harvested long before the parsnips need the space.
5. Pre-sprouting Seeds
Chitting (pre-sprouting) seeds which have a long germination time shortens the wait. You can also use it for any early-planted seeds to speed things up.
Line a sealable container with two sheets of damp paper towel. Add your seeds and cover with two more layers of damp paper towel. Put the lid on and keep the container in a warm place until the seeds start showing tiny roots. Plant them straight away.